ODOT has a warning for drivers now that construction season is underway statewide to slow down, put your phones down and pay attention behind the wheel.
According to ODOT, last year, at least nine people were killed and 129 people were injured in 96 collisions in Oklahoma work zones in the first half of the year. Over the past five years, 65 people, including four ODOT workers, were killed and 1,348 people were injured in more than 1,047 collisions.
“You think traffic is the main safety concern here but we also have safety concerns with the equipment we’re using, with the materials we’re working with and all that in conjunction with traffic does make this a very dangerous corridor,” Seth Buchanan, with ODOT, said.
Buchanan tells News on 6 speed, distracted driving and folks shouting at them from their vehicles are all concerns for workers in construction zones.
“We’ve had people on their phones driving into work zones and when we’re narrowing up we have those cones and every now and then we will have someone just take them out and whenever we’re in the work zone that’s very sobering.”
On the new Broken Arrow Expressway project over 15th street as many as 80,000 drivers go over that bridge every day. Drivers are supposed to obey by the 55 m.p.h. signs. The construction section under the bridge traffic is lowered to 25 m.p.h.
“In these work zones a lot of people run right at or five over. We see that a lot,” Buchanan said.
ODOT is asking for folks to take their time in work zones not only for their worker’s safety but also for your safety. They say it only take a second for something to go terribly wrong.
“You may have heard this 1,000 times but I can’t reiterate it enough, we are people, we work here, it is a very dangerous environment and inattentiveness can really affect us and we all have family and friends that want to go home to.”